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COSHAR Foundation Promotes Importance of Timely Childhood Immunization at Black Family Reunion Celebration in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The COSHAR Foundation - a nonprofit organization dedicated to health education, improvement and empowerment with a focus on minority and disadvantaged populations - will focus attention on the importance of timely childhood immunization at the National Council of Negro Women's (NCNW's) Black Family Reunion Celebration on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The event is recognized as the largest, most significant family event in the nation, attracting more than 500,000 people each year.

"More than a quarter of African American children in the United States and almost one fifth of babies in D.C. are at risk for many life-threatening childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, pneumococcal disease and whooping cough because they are not up-to-date with their vaccinations," said Sharon Allison-Ottey, M.D., executive director of The COSHAR Foundation. "As we join in celebrating the enduring strengths and traditional values of the African American family, we urge parents and caregivers to help ensure the health of our children - and protect our future - by protecting their children through vaccination."

The COSHAR Foundation's participation in the event is part of its national immunization awareness campaign, Protecting our Future: The COSHAR Foundation Immunization Project, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of timely childhood vaccination and to ultimately increase vaccine compliance rates among under-vaccinated children in the United States.

The COSHAR Foundation recently updated its free immunization toolkits with new materials, including information about autism and vaccines as well as information on H1N1 flu. Other materials include resources, flyers, information, questions and answer documents, scriptural references and recommendations for congregational activities and events focusing on the importance of vaccines. Since launching in April 2008, more than 12,000 toolkits have been distributed and more than 8,200 churches, with every state represented, have hosted local "Immunization Sundays" events, which allow churches and community organizations to present the immunization information in a personalized way to more effectively reach their members.

The Black Family Reunion Celebration also will offer health screenings, celebrity appearances and performances, community service exhibitors, ethnic food vendors and pavilions that showcase African American businesses and organizations that address topics such as health, education, economic empowerment, teen issues and family values. R&B and gospel concerts will be held Saturday and Sunday nights.

About The COSHAR Foundation

The COSHAR Foundation is a 501( c )3 organization dedicated to "Impacting the Health of the World, One Community at a Time." The COSHAR Foundation's NHMN includes more than 14,000 churches and 220 community organizations throughout the country and addresses various community health concerns. Protecting our Future: The COSHAR Foundation Immunization Project is sponsored by a grant to the foundation from Wyeth Vaccines. For more information, please contact The COSHAR Foundation at (301) 731-8391 or visit

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